Friday, March 19, 2010

Options abound for Jimmy Page, last seen without a band

When Jimmy Page was sitting next to Show of Peace organizer Rick Garson on a couch addressing Chinese reporters' questions for nearly 20 minutes in January, one of the first was who would be singing for Page. The guitarist was quick to reply, "I don't know."

Hmmm, he really was undecided, wasn't he? So, there's a vacancy?

So much time has passed since then, which Page has acknowledged. "It's been two years! Two years since the O2. It's time to do that," he told Sky News in December, in an interview that touched on his intentions to play music live in 2010.

But did he really enter the new year without even the slightest clue of who would be singing for him at his only scheduled major appearance? You won't find the answer here. What you will find is a number of people who've shown their support for Page and said they would love to work with him.

Roger Daltrey sounded sincere on BBC Radio 6 Music this morning when he said in a pre-taped interview that his blues singer voice would complement Page well. However, it seemed as though the idea was really contrived by host Shaun Keaveny and then exaggerated on air for maximum impact. The host recapped by saying, "You heard it here first. Jimmy Page, Roger Daltrey, 2011. We'll look into that."

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, who attended the Led Zeppelin concert at the O2 arena in December 2007, was asked on the Feb. 6 episode of "That Metal Show" on VH1 Classic to name another musician he'd like to collaborate with. He didn't hesitate to say, "Jimmy Page." He explained:
"What Jimmy did with the guitar was very snark. If you listen to it stripped down, it's not like these wussies that play today and they've got 40 rhythm tracks because they can't play rhythm. You know, you listen to Jimmy Page, you know he was gettin' it. I mean, he had the -- back then -- enormoballs! You know what I mean? To make a guitar that's sounding that weak sound that big, you know, that's an art form. Plus, I mean, you know, he's Jimmy Page!"
Then there's David Coverdale, who in December 2008 volunteered to front Led Zeppelin in a revolving-door vocalist scenario since Robert Plant wanted no part of a reunion tour. Coverdale said in an interview posted on the official site of his band Whitesnake last month that he liked being his own boss but would love to work again with Page given the proper amount of time and resources:
"I have nothing but positive feelings for people like Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore for the inspiration and motivation I received from working together with musicians of their incredible talent. ... Personally, I am thrilled I had the opportunity to work with one of my musical heroes, and to maintain a healthy, loving friendship with him."
The question is posed as to whether he and Page would ever consider recording a follow-up album to their 1993 disc Coverdale/Page, the singer replied:
"No, not at this time. EMI have recently been making overtures to me about putting a 'special edition' together after they heard there were several unreleased tracks. But time and resource is the problem.

"We've been archiving lots of tapes, cassettes and videos at home recently, and we have discovered a ton of the demos Jimmy and I made, which could be very interesting for some people to hear.

"We also filmed a lot of our writing and recording sessions. So, I feel we could put a terrific 'special' together that would be a treat to have. But in reality, JP and I have never discussed reissuing, or making another C/P album. There is always the possibility of something happening. I just can't see it in the foreseeable future as I am busy with all things Whitesnake."
Coverdale is too busy to make another attempt at singing for Page? Surely, he jests.

Another singer who might jump at the job is Paul Rodgers, whose legend only grows with each passing year as he blends his voice with new projects such as the reunited Queen. He has eight U.K. dates with Bad Company next month, followed by nine shows in the United States and Canada from April to July.

But coming later this month is a new U.K. compilation titled The Very Best of Free and Bad Company Featuring Paul Rodgers. It is a career retrospective that includes four tracks from his stint as singer of the Firm with Page as guitarist. Notably, two tracks on the disc, set for a March 29 release, are their band's live takes of "Live in Peace" and "Midnight Moonlight" recorded in 1985.

As to what Page's performing career holds in store for the immediate future, his head could be anywhere at this point. Let him weigh his options -- but not for much longer!

If he was going to play at the Show of Peace, he now has a six-month reprieve to decide who's going to comprise his concert band.

But it sure would be great to see Page out and about long before October.

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